Things To Know Before Visiting Al Aqsa Mosque (Masjid)

As the proud owners of a travel agency specializing in trips to the Al Aqsa mosque, we have hosted many successful excursions over the years. We know all there is to know about visiting this third holiest site in the Muslim world. 

Whether admiring the cubist architecture or learning about the history and cultural significance of al Aqsa, a trip to this pristine location can be an unforgettable experience for any traveller. 

Photo by Yasir Gürbüz 

So join us on a journey as we are eager to share a wealth of knowledge with you and begin your adventure to one of the greatest mosques with breathtaking Islamic architecture!

Significance of Masjid Al Aqsa For Muslims

Al Aqsa Mosque is one of the holiest sites in Islam and holds great significance for Muslims worldwide. It is located on the Temple Mount in east Jerusalem. 

The significance of Al Aqsa mosque stems from a prophetic tradition stating that the Prophet Muhammad, peace is upon him, was transported from Mecca to al-Aqsa during the Night Journey (al-Isra).

The story goes that one night Prophet Muhammad was taken from Mecca to east Jerusalem by the angel Jibril (Gabriel), where he led all the other prophets in prayer.  From al Aqsa mosque, it is said that he ascended to heaven and spoke directly with Allah (God).

Al-Aqsa Mosque: One Of Islam’s Holiest Sites

The site of Al Aqsa is also believed to be the location of the resurrection and gathering of believers during the Day of Judgment. In addition, Muslims believe that Al-Mahdi, God’s ultimate saviour in Islam, will appear at Al Aqsa mosque before he begins his worldwide mission.

As such, Muslims all over the world hold Al Aqsa in high regard, and it is often referred to as “the farthest mosque” in the Quran.  It is also mentioned in many hadiths narrating the night journey and holds a special place in Islamic teachings. After Masij al-Haram and Masjid-al-Nabvi, Al-Aqsa is the third holiest site for Muslims.

Given its spiritual importance, Muslims pilgrimage to Al Aqsa whenever possible. It is believed that by praying at holy sites or holy places, one can receive God’s blessings and benefit from the spiritual energy of this holiest of sites. Open courtyards located there remain full during Friday prayers.

History of the Dome of Rock

The Dome of the Rock in the Al Aqsa compound is the beautiful dome-shaped shrine on the Temple Mount in the old city of east Jerusalem. It is an iconic landmark and a major destination for Muslim pilgrims from all over the world. But what’s particularly intriguing about the Dome of the Rock is its rich architectural and religious history, which spans centuries and includes multiple wars and violent episodes. Let’s take a closer look at the history of the Dome of the Rock.

Photo by Yasir Gürbüz 

Dome of Al Aqsa

Architectural History 

The Dome of the Rock was constructed in the late 6th century during Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik’s reign and is widely considered one of the most important pieces of Islamic architecture ever constructed. 

The Dome of the Rock is composed mainly of marble, granite, and gold mosaics and is the oldest dome in the world that still stands. The Dome of the Rock is 35 meters in height and 20 meters in diameter, while its interior is ornately decorated with intricate geometric patterns and verses from the Quran.

The central bays of the Al Aqsa porch were first constructed during the First Crusade. But later, Salahuddin’s nephew rebuilt them in 1217. Mosque’s interior contains beautiful stained glass windows.

Religious History

The Dome of the Rock is a few yards from Al Aqsa mosque but within the Al Aqsa mosque compound. It is regarded as the third holiest site in the Islamic creed and a major pilgrimage site for Muslims worldwide. The Dome of the Rock is believed to be the location where the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven, and it is believed that the dome itself marks the exact spot where this ascension took place.

Photo by Hasan Berkant

The holy site has been at the centre of conflicts between Christians, Muslims and Jewish forces during various Islamic eras (continued till today).

The Dome of the Rock has also been damaged or desecrated on several occasions by both sides during various wars, including in 1096 during the First Crusade when Christian forces briefly held it.

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Facts About Al Aqsa Mosque

The beautiful al-Haram al-Sharif Al Aqsa Mosque is Jerusalem’s most recognizable architectural symbol. Here are some amazing facts about Al Aqsa mosque.

  • The First Qiblah For Muslims

Masjid Al Aqsa is Muslims’ first qiblah (direction of prayer), dating back to the early Islamic period. During this time, Prophet Muhammad instructed all of his followers to face the direction of Al Aqsa Mosque during their daily prayers. 

  • Al Aqsa is a Collection of Mosques

Did you know Masjid Al Aqsa, or the temple mount, is more than just a single building? It comprises several different mosques, including the al Qibli Mosque, Marwani Mosque, and the Buraq Mosque. All the mosques are situated at the historical holy site.

The Al Aqsa mosque is located at the southernmost corner of this complex, also known as the “Al Qibly Mosque,” as it is closest to the qiblah. But the whole area of Masjid Al Aqsa is collectively referred to as the Noble Sanctuary or Al-Haram ash-Sharif. 

So while we may only think of one building when referring to Al Aqsa Mosque, there’s a lot more to explore! All these buildings reflect an immense history and offer you intense peace and tranquillity.

  • Al Aqsa Mosque Has Been Burnt Down

It’s a sad reality that Al Aqsa, the holy site of immense spiritual and historical importance to Muslims, has been burnt down in the past. 

In 1969, an Australian Christian extremist set fire to the Al Qibly Mosque within the Al Aqsa Mosque compound. The flames destroyed the entire mosque, but it was rebuilt quickly and carefully. 

  • Al Aqsa: A Graveyard To Some Noble Muslims

Al Aqsa mosque compound is the resting place of some noble figures from Islamic history, several prophets (AS), and Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) companions. 

The holy site is believed to have the grave of Prophet Suleiman, who passed away while supervising the construction of the al Qibli Mosque. This cemetery is known as “Bab ar-Rahmah” and is one of the most prominent cemeteries in the Islamic world.

  • Al Aqsa Mosque In The Quran

Al-Aqsa Mosque is mentioned several times in the Quran, including when Allah asks Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to take a night journey from Makkah to al-Masjid al-Aqsa – which means “the farthest mosque.” 

  • Al Aqsa Mosque And the Dome Of Rock Are Not The Same

The Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, located at the temple mount in East Jerusalem, the old city, are two distinct sites forming part of the larger al-Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary) compound. 

Al Aqsa Mosque is a large mosque situated in the southern portion of the al Aqsa mosque compound, while the Dome of the Rock is a vibrant shrine and religious site at its center. The dome sits upon a raised platform and is a stunning architectural sight.

Al-Aqsa’s dome is a large silver dome, not the golden one. People often confuse it with the golden dome, which is actually the Dome of the Rock. Al-Aqsa Mosque is also known as Al-Qibly Mosque.

On the other hand, the Dome of the Rock is adorned with intricate mosaics and gold decorations that make it one of the most iconic structures in the region. 

  • The Western Wall: The Most Religious Site For Jews

The Western Wall in the old Jeruselum, within the Al Aqsa mosque compound, is a small segment of an ancient limestone wall that reminds us of the Jewish temple on the Temple Mount before it was destroyed in 70 CE. The Western Wall is found on the western side of the Temple Mount and has become an important place for pilgrims to visit and pray. ‘

The Jewish people consider the wall holy, which has become a symbol of resilience in times of adversity. The Western Wall is also one of the most iconic landmarks in old Jerusalem.

  • Al Aqsa Mosque Once Used As A Dumpsite

The Al Aqsa Mosque Compound has a long history. Before it was the third holiest site in Islam, Al-Aqsa’s holy grounds were used as a dumping ground by the Romans who lived there. Hazrat Umar ordered to restore Al Aqsa mosque during his reign.

When Hazrat Umar liberated the old city of Jerusalem, he cleared away all the trash and litter from Al Aqsa with his own hands. He invited 70 Jewish families back to Jerusalem – ending their centuries-long exile. 

We hope this blog post has added to your knowledge some mind-blowing historical facts about al Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. However, it’s important to remember that Masjid al Aqsa is not just a religious site but a sacred location for Muslims from all Islamic countries. We will also let you know more about the place and mosque in our upcoming trip to Al aqsa. So for any queries contact us 

Its rich history and unique Islamic architecture make al-Aqsa one of the most incredible and memorable places to visit. Whether you’re a Muslim or simply interested in learning about another culture and its customs, al Aqsa should definitely be a part of your journey. So, whenever you visit the old city of Jerusalem, don’t forget to bless yourself by visiting this holy mosque.

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